Archive for March, 2019

Chicago Workshop Teaches Small Businesses about the Voice of the Customer

Saturday, March 23rd, 2019

Voice actor business

The Voice of the Customer (VOC) grows louder every day. Customers can now share a bad experience easily with the world. They can take to social media, a website, blog, review sites, or forums to voice their discontent. Handle the problem quickly. Otherwise your brand could take a big hit.

Applied Marketing Science (AMS) plans a workshop titled “Listening to the Voice of the Customer,” to teach how to accelerate your marketing efforts by using VOC research.

Attendees will participate with hands-on exercises and activities to build the necessary skills for executing VOC at their companies.

Some of the topics to be covered in the workshop include identifying the right customers to interview, choosing the right structure and asking the right questions — the right way. Then analyze customer interviews to extract customer needs and more.

The workshop puts you closer  to a higher goal. The two full days (16 hours) of credit count toward the Product Development and Management Association’s New Product Development Professional certification and re-certification.

The event occurs at the University Club of Chicago and runs October 16-17, 2019.

Click the button and enter Discount Code SMALLBIZ to get $100 off the course registration price.

Register Now

Featured Events, Contests and Awards

Elevate Your Digital InfluenceElevate Your Digital Influence
April 13, 2019, Issaquah, Wash.

Are you ready to grow your business? Join us and learn how to put together a PR plan and leverage what you are doing on social to grow your level of influence. Are you ready to be a leader in your marketplace? #ElevateYourDigitalInfluence

Listening to the Voice of the Customer WorkshopListening to the Voice of the Customer Workshop
April 23, 2019, Boston, Mass.

Join Applied Marketing Science (AMS) for the next open-enrollment session of “Listening to the Voice of the Customer,” our acclaimed training workshop, on April 23-24, 2019 at the Sheraton Boston Hotel located in the heart of downtown Boston. Led by veteran product development and market research experts, Gerry Katz (AMS Vice Chairman), and John Burns (AMS Principal), this course will introduce Voice of the Customer market research and teach you to use it to accelerate innovation in business-to-business markets.
Discount Code
SMALLBIZ ($100 Discount)

Beachpreneurs Beach Camp 5Beachpreneurs Beach Camp 5
April 26, 2019, Daytona Beach, Fla.

For starters, we’re for Women Entrepreneurs only. During Beach Camp, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to learn, apply and mastermind with warm successful women.
You’ll also have time to sleep in and you’ll get long breaks to relax and walk the beach or go for a swim. We didn’t create a conference at the beach just to lock you away in a conference room from dawn til dusk. Beach Camp is a lifestyle focused event so you’ll be spending as much time enjoying your life as you will be focusing on your business. Join us today!

Listening to the Voice of the Customer Listening to the Voice of the Customer
October 16, 2019, Chicago, Ill.

Led by veteran product development and market research experts, this course will introduce Voice of the Customer (VOC) market research and teach you to use it to accelerate innovation in business-to-business markets. The workshop uses a lively, interactive format with numerous hands-on activities and practice exercises to build skills and will also expose you to the latest applications of these techniques in areas such as machine learning and journey mapping.
Discount Code
SMALLBIZ ($100 Off)

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This weekly listing of small business events, contests and awards is provided as a community service by Small Business Trends.

You can see a full list of events, contest and award listings or post your own events by visiting the Small Business Events Calendar.
Image: Shutterstock

This article, “Chicago Workshop Teaches Small Businesses about the Voice of the Customer” was first published on Small Business Trends


10 Ways to Improve Your Business, Online and Offline

Saturday, March 23rd, 2019


To run a successful business in 2019, you need to incorporate both online and offline strategies. For everything from marketing to managing your team, it’s important to know the options and requirements to build a thriving business. Here are a wide array of tips from the online small business community to help you manage both the online and offline parts of your business.

Make Promos More Prominent with Google My Business Offers

Google My Business recently unveiled “Offers,” a new view for customers that could help local businesses make promotions a bit more prominent. To learn about this new feature and how to effectively take advantage of it, check out this Bright Local post by Jamie Pitman.

Create a Winning Profile, Online and Off

Most businesses today exist in both the online and offline world. Even if your customers only really interact with you online, there are some offline concepts that likely impact your day-to-day. If you want to create a winning profile in both of these worlds, read this Startup Professionals Musings post by Martin Zwilling.

Learn from Top Marketing Emails

Email marketing has been around for a long time and so many businesses use it as part of their strategy. But some companies have found unique ways through the years to make emails stand out. In this GetResponse post, Michal Leszczynski goes over some of these examples and talks about the lessons that other marketers can learn from them.

Read These Quotes About Risk Taking

Risk is a part of running any type of business. Whether you’re staying small with an online business or attempting to grow a brand with physical locations around the world, you may need some inspiration. Here, Joel Libava of The Franchise King has compiled some quotes that could help. And you can see thoughts from the BizSugar community here.

Write Marketing Copy That Gets Results

Whether you’re writing for a blog or traditional media, the strength of your marketing copy can have a major impact on your success. In this Crowdspring post, Katie Lundin offers some tips for creating marketing copy that can actually get results and help you grow your business.

Learn All About Payroll Processing

Whether you run a business that’s mainly online or off, you need to understand your legal and financial requirements. If you have a team, that means you have to know about payroll processing. Nellie Akalp of CorpNet dives into the concept here and shares all the details you need to know as a business owner.

Increase Engagement with Social Media Giveaways

People love getting free stuff. This was true before the rise of social media and it’s still true today. So if you’re looking to increase engagement on these platforms, why not utilize this concept. This Social Media HQ post by David Webb explores how you can most effectively use giveaways on social media.

Consider Current Mobile Trends

Mobile technology is making an impact on online businesses as well as brick and mortar shops. If you want to make use of this technology for your own business, it helps to look at what others in the industry are achieving. Here’s a rundown of the current trends from Vikas Gulati on the Marketing Land blog.

Know the Ups and Downs of Social Media

Whether you’re building a business around social media or just using it on a daily basis, being an entrepreneur requires a deep understanding of the tools and trends that surround these platforms. In this post, Rachel Strella of Strella Social Media details some of the best and worst things that come with working in the industry. And BizSugar members shared thoughts on the post here.

Grow Your Declining Google Traffic

Even if you experience a lull in online traffic, you can take that as an opportunity to learn and grow your business. To make the most of the situation and bring your online business back up to speed, you can learn some valuable lessons by diving into Neil Patel’s story.

If you’d like to suggest your favorite small business content to be considered for an upcoming community roundup, please send your news tips to:


This article, “10 Ways to Improve Your Business, Online and Offline” was first published on Small Business Trends


10 Great Examples of Unboxing Videos to Mimic for your Own Products

Saturday, March 23rd, 2019

10 Great Examples of Unboxing Videos

Unboxing videos are a very specific genre on YouTube. These are just what the name implies — people opening products up and talking about what they’re doing and seeing. For small businesses, this specific corner of YouTube is important. Statista reports the video platform has 1.5 billion users around the globe. That number is expected to rise to 1.86 billion by 2021.

Examples of Unboxing Videos

Check out these 10 great examples of unboxing videos for small businesses that are great samples for your own online marketing efforts.

Petite ‘n Pretty PR MAKEUP

It’s important to make sure that you’re using a good camera for any unboxing video like in this example. The iPhone camera has come a long way. Still you might want to consider investing in a camcorder that keeps pace with UHD/4K video and other advancements.


Nike Adapt BB – Futuristic Self Lacing Sneakers

This video makes our unboxing list because it has a nice clean backdrop. People don’t want to watch an unboxing video from a messy desk or cluttered room. Use a professional backdrop for your video instead to add quality to your video production.


Calia Hair Care

Being personable and approachable helps to add to the popularity of any unboxing video. Being authentic is infectious. It’s important to be genuine. If you have someone who’s playing a part, viewers will see through their fake energy about your goods and services.


Hot Toys Spider-man Homecoming Spider-man Sixth Scale Figure

We’ve already mentioned that a good camera is important to a good unboxing video. It’s also critical to make sure that you use a good mic like in this example. There is no need to spend a bundle of money to pump your sound up to a professional level.


LEGO City 60200 Capital City Construction Toy

The product might be simple enough that you can demonstrate it just using visuals like in this example. If that’s the case, having a soundtrack in the background always adds to the entertainment value of your unboxing video.  Just remember to pick an appropriate score. The light happy tune they’re using here works. Something heavy or dark wouldn’t fit.


The Top 10 Sneakers Of 2018

If you’re looking for an excellent marketing technique for your unboxing videos, take a page from this one and develop some kind of relevant list. It doesn’t need to be a top 10 for the whole year. It can be something like “5 easy ways our product does the job.” However you decide to use these lists, they attract viewers.


Funniest Unboxing Fails and Hilarious Moments

This one kind of breaks with our previous tip about having a nice tidy background, but it works because it uses humor. The whole idea behind any unboxing video is about entertaining and informing. Funny sells. If you don’t believe that, just take a look at the views this unboxing video got.


Crayola Melt N Mold Factory Crayon Maker Play Kit!

Enthusiasm. That’s the one word that makes this video stand out. For small business, you want to get the most out of these and have someone who really gets behind your goods and services upfront.


HUGE UNBOXING HAUL! *New/Favorite Makeup & Clothes*

This video was included since it highlights a huge haul that’s a popular trend. There are other trends that work well to like making ‘sent me’ unboxing videos.


Segway Shoes!!! Segway Drift W1

Finally, this video was included because all of the shots here are stable. It’s important to make sure your unboxing video isn’t jerky even when there’s action involved. There’s a few different techniques you can use like holding the camera close to your chest or placing it on a chair or table.

Image: Unbox Therapy

This article, “10 Great Examples of Unboxing Videos to Mimic for your Own Products” was first published on Small Business Trends


Taekwondo Multi European Games Open in Bulgaria

Saturday, March 23rd, 2019

The 2nd World Taekwondo Europe (WTE) Multi European Games were officially opened here in the Asics Arena Hall on Friday, reports Xinhua. 

The event, which will end on Sunday, gathered 2,000 athletes of kids to seniors from 50 countries and regions, Bulgaria’s Minister of Youth and Sports Krasen Kralev said at the opening ceremony.

In recent years, taekwondo has been one of the fastest growing sports in Bulgaria and has brought many successes for the country, Kralev said.

Slavi Binev, President of the Bulgarian Taekwondo Federation and former member of the European Parliament, said in turn that this is the third biggest taekwondo competition in Europe and the fourth in the world.

“Taekwondo is not only a sport, it is a lifestyle, but the more important thing – it is ‘a factory for personalities,’” Binev said.


Bulgarian President Radev and CEC Discussed Preparations for the European Elections

Saturday, March 23rd, 2019

President Rumen Radev met with the new leadership of the Central Election Commission (CEC). The President and the members of the Commission discussed all the necessary measures for conducting peaceful, fair and transparent elections for MEPs, reports BNT.

President Rumen Radev said that there should be no compromise of the electronic vote.

The CEC said that debates on how to allocate the machines to the upcoming Eurovision are a total of 3000.

Rumen Radev, President of Bulgaria: Conducting free, fair, transparent elections is one of the biggest achievements of democracy. And these achievements should be upheld in every election. Elections are a task for the whole society, but our society will rely heavily on your efforts and high professionalism for organising, conducting and reporting results and,above all, applying the electoral law. 

Stefka Stoeva, Chair of CEC: We have problems with the certification, the public procurement will be checked today by competent external experts and we will start working on the criteria for the distribution of the three thousand machines because this is important. Citizens want to know why some will vote though a machine and others with a paper ballot. This must be clearly explained


Anti-corruption Body Investigates Property Deals of Ruling Majority Politicians in Bulgaria

Saturday, March 23rd, 2019

Bulgaria’s anti-corruption commission starts an investigation following media publications and alerts from non-governmental organisations regarding the purchase of high-end apartments at prices lower than the market value prices by politicians from the ruling majority, reports BNT.

The politicians subject to the investigation are GERB parliamentary group leader Tsvetan Tsvetanov; Justice Minister Tsetska Tsacheva; Vezhdi Rashidov, head of Parliament’s committee on culture and a former culture minister and Deputy Minister of Sport, Vanya Koleva.

The check will probe into all data and circumstances published in the media, including the market prices of the properties concerned, the origin of the funds for their purchase, as well as trade in influence and conflict of interest in the adoption of legislative changes by the Parliament. The activity of the sales company “Arteks Engineering” AD, as well as its possible participation in public procurement will be checked as well.

All sale and purchase transactions carried out by the company for the period 2017 – 2019 will be analysed with a view to establishing the prices at which the company usually sold properties and the possible identification of other persons under Art. 6 para. 1 of the Law on Anti-Corruption and Forfeiture of Unlawfully Acquired Assets, who have entered into transactions with the company. Information will be requested from the competent authorities and all construction permits issued to the company for that period.

The anti-corruption commission launches the investigation following media reports that Tsvetanov had bought a luxury apartment at an allegedly below-market value price. Tsvetanov denies wrongdoing. He said he did nothing illegal and sees the issue as part of a smear campaign against ahead of Bulgaria’s May 2019 European Parliament elections.

Tsacheva told journalists on March 21 that she had asked the Prosecutor-General’s Office and the anti-corruption commission to investigate her property acquisition. She said she wanted the results to be made public when the check was over.

The investigation will also look into possible presence or lack of related persons between political parties and Arteks Engineering AD, as well as whether the company has provided pre-election donations.


Controversial Penalty Earns Bulgaria Draw Against Montenegro

Saturday, March 23rd, 2019

Bulgaria midfielder Todor Nedelev scored a dubious late penalty to help them earn a 1-1 home draw in their opening Euro 2020 Group A qualifier against Montenegro on Friday, reports Euronews.

The penalty was awarded in the 82nd minute for a foul by Montenegro substitute Vladimir Jovovic on Stanislav Kostov but television replays showed the incident happened outside the penalty area.

Stefan Mugosa opened the scoring when he curled in a brilliant left-foot shot five minutes after the break that gave Bulgaria keeper Nikolay Mihaylov no chance having beaten Vasil Bozhikov and Petar Zanev by putting the ball through their legs.

Bulgaria were unable to get into their stride for most of the second half but 17-year-old debutant Martin Minchev almost secured a late win when he shot just wide.

Bulgaria visit Kosovo on Monday when Montenegro will host England. Gareth Southgate’s side face Czech Republic later on Friday.


The week in energy: The Exxon Valdez spill 30 years on

Saturday, March 23rd, 2019

Safety since the Exxon Valdez, the IMO rules on shipping emissions, and a nuclear Green New Deal

Why diamond miners are wary of the Markle sparkle

Friday, March 22nd, 2019

The fashion jewellery market is increasingly turning to lab-grown stones

In The News: March Madness Distracts Workers, Raising Wages May Force You to Reduce Hours

Friday, March 22nd, 2019

Did it feel like everyone in your office this week was a little distracted?

Were you a little distracted?

There’s a reason for that. Monday was the first work day with the new NCAA March Madness bracket. That means workers everywhere — even in virtual offices these days — were really hard at work … picking random college basketball teams to win the big office pool.

That’s right. The most asked question around your office this week was probably: What’s a Wofford?

In new data from Monster this week, we learned that an incredible 31% of employees in American workplaces will spend half their time focused on March Madness. That’s watching games but also all the other hoopla.

If you have any questions about how organized your team is or if they’re working together, watch them put together a tournament pool. Presumably, a legal one, of course.

There were other headlines this week, of course. They’re included in our news roundup below.

Meanwhile, we’re watching VCU. We’ve got them going far.


Increased Minimum Wages Require Hour Cuts to Compensate, Whole Foods Example Shows

Amazon recently began a $15 minimum wage for its employees at Whole Foods, but then the grocery store began cutting workers’ hours, according to the Guardian. The multinational e-commerce company enacted the increased wage in November for all U.S. workers, in response to public pressure and criticism over its pay for employees.

39% of Small Business Hires This Year Will Be Sales and Marketing Staff

The latest report from Clutch says 39% of small businesses will add sales and marketing employees. This data point underscores the importance of sales and marketing in today’s digital commerce. You must optimize websites, social media channels and eCommerce to make it happen. And you need sales and marketing employees to do the heavy lifting.


Survey Reveals 56% of Bloggers Get Better Results by Spending 6 Hours on a Post

Blogs have become one of the most effective ways of communicating with digital technology. And the maturation of the medium has resulted in bloggers spending more time to create high-quality posts which deliver better results. The latest blogger survey from Orbit Media has revealed 56% of bloggers who spend six-plus hours on a blog post get better results.

Retail Trends

Items Most Likely to be Returned to Your eCommerce Business

If you are in the business of selling a product, whether online or a physical store, customers will eventually return some of those items. A new infographic from Website Builder Expert has some interesting insights as to how this part of the retail industry affects the overall business.

Small Business Operations

The Next 4 Things You Should Do to Get your Business Ready for the Summer Slowdown

It’s that time of year again! Spring is around the corner. Following soon afterward that is summer, and summer (for some online businesses) is known for the summer slump. The summer slump is a when you may see a dip in website traffic and sales because people are out on vacation and enjoying the weather.


A Relentless Focus on the Customer Gives San Francisco’s 360 Payments a Winning Edge

Fintech sales can be tough, but Lisa Coyle of 360 Payments has found her stride. The aim of 360 Payments is to change the fabric of the payments industry by partnering with customers to provide honest and streamlined payment solutions. We chatted to Lisa Coyle, Co-CEO of 360 Payments, to find out how her customer-centric approach has helped to drive her success.

5 Life Lessons from “Wise Guy” Guy Kawasaki

In the entrepreneurship world, Guy Kawasaki is considered a motivational icon. There is a lot to learn from his new book which is appropriately named “Wise Guy”.

Technology Trends

Business Travelers Should Seek Rodeway Inn for Best Hotel WiFi, Research Says

The economically-priced hotel chain Rodeway Inn just won the title of the hotel with best WiFi in 2019. Research compiled by Highspeed Internet found Rodeway Inn possesses the fastest free WiFi speeds for guests at 7.66Mbps. This research used data from to calculate average WiFi speeds for each hotel chain.

Only 3% of US Retail Sales Completed Via Mobile Wallet

A new infographic from Expert Market has mapped out mobile wallet usage in 36 countries around the world. In the US, only 3% of retail sales were completed through a mobile wallet. The global penetration rate of this technology is still very low topping at 6%, except for one country. The one outlier in this report is China, which has a staggering 36% of the population using mobile wallet.


This article, “In The News: March Madness Distracts Workers, Raising Wages May Force You to Reduce Hours” was first published on Small Business Trends